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Lyft Raises $500 Million in Funding
Lyft has raised $500 million in new funding, valuing the company at roughly $6.9 billion. According to the Financial Times, the ride-hailing company trails rival Uber, which is valued at $70 billion.
Are India’s Startups Overhyped?
Quartz took a look at the profitability of India’s 10 startups with valuations of at least $1 billion, finding evidence that only two—data analytics company Mu Sigma and mobile ad platform InMobi—were in the black. The rest of the companies either showed no evidence of net profit or had run up losses, according to available information.
Eyeo Buys Micropayments Platform
Adblock Plus creator Eyeo has purchased fledgling micropayments platform Flattr for an undisclosed sum, according to Horizont. Sweden-based Flattr allows internet users to make regular payments or one-off “donations” to content creators in order help “support the free and open web.” In 2016, Eyeo partnered with Flattr to create Flattr Plus, a version of the payments tool that manages a user-determined monthly payment budget for doling out to content providers instead of having users make individual payments for each content purchase.
Fintech Deal Size in Southeast Asia Slips
Venture capital firm Life.Sreda reports that financial technology investments in Southeast Asia dropped by 40% in 2016, when measured year over year. However, the number of investment deals in the region remained roughly the same, meaning investors are still distributing their cash among the same number of startups, but the checks are smaller. Singapore drew the most fintech venture capital out of all countries in the region last year, with $81.5 million.
Residents in India Can Now Subscribe to Google Play Music
Google has launched its Google Play Music audio streaming service in India. Subscribers who sign up within 45 days of the service’s launch will pay INR89 ($1.32) per month, with the price increasing to INR99 ($1.47) per month after the promotional window closes. Google competes with not just Apple Music for listeners, but also with local companies Saavn, Hungama and Gaana.
UK Gig Economy Contracts Under Fire
Members of the UK’s House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee this week described the self-employment contracts from UK gig economy stars Uber, Deliveroo and Amazon as “unintelligible” and Uber’s contract in particular as “gibberish,” according to The Telegraph. The committee’s assessment follows the leak of documents to The Guardian detailing the lengths to which managers at London-based food delivery service Deliveroo go to propagate the idea that the company’s delivery riders are self-employed contractors. The Deliveroo revelation comes as a group of its delivery riders gear up for legal action seeking to have their status changed to employees, which would offer them benefits like paid sick days and holidays.
Triptease Adds $9 Million in Funding
UK travel startup Triptease has received $9 million in Series B funding from a trio of backers led by BGF Ventures, according to Business Insider. The London-based company’s service seeks to help hotel operators boost direct booking by allowing them to display their direct-booked rates against those of online travel agents.
The Financial Industry Is Coming to Terms with Fintech
A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals the tides are turning for the better in the tension between fintech startups and traditional financial institutions. In a survey of over 1,300 financial services professionals worldwide, 88% felt that fintech was a real threat to their industry and roughly a quarter of revenues could be in jeopardy. A September 2016 survey from Capgemini, Efma and LinkedIn found that almost 46% of US financial services customers use nontraditional financial technology firms such as automated advisors.
—Cliff Annicelli, Rahul Chadha, Rebecca Chadwick, Rimma Kats
US paid media ad spending will grow steadily in 2017, on the heels of a strong 2016 boosted by the Rio Olympics and the presidential election. A focus on mobile will fuel growth, pushing total media spend to more than $206 billion this year—a moderate increase of 6.1%.
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